Communities, COVID and credit: the state of science collaborations
The pros and pitfalls of collaboration, with insights from researchers and beyond.This week, Nature has a special issue on collaborations, looking at the benefits to science and society that working together can bring. In this collaboration-themed edition of the podcast, we’re joined by Nature’s David Payne to discuss the issue, and the state of research collaborations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.In this episode:02:49 How are research collaborations changing?To answer the biggest questions, research teams are coming together in larger numbers than ever before. But the scientific enterprise hasn’t...
Source: Nature Podcast - June 16, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Counting the cost of long COVID
The global burden of COVID-19 has predominantly been measured using metrics like case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths. But the long term health impacts are more difficult to capture. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss one way that public health experts are trying to get to grips with the problem using metrics such as disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and quality adjusted life years (QALYs).As new data suggests that COVID could leave millions with lasting disability or ill-health, we ask how changing the lens through which we asses the impacts of COVID could change public health policies, the perception of ri...
Source: Nature Podcast - June 11, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Google AI beats humans at designing computer chips
An AI that designs computer chips in hours, and zooming in on DNA’s complex 3D structures.In this episode:00:46 An AI computer microchip designerWorking out where to place the billions of components that a modern computer chip needs can take human designers months and, despite decades of research, has defied automation. This week, however, a team from Google report a new machine learning algorithm that does the job in a fraction of the time, and is already helping design their next generation of AI processors.Research Article: Mirhoseini et al.News and Views: AI system outperforms humans in designing floorplans for m...
Source: Nature Podcast - June 9, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Uncertainty and the COVID'lab-leak' theory
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been allegations that SARS-CoV-2 could have originated in a Chinese lab. A phase one WHO investigation concluded that a 'lab-leak' was "extremely unlikely" and yet, the theory has seen a resurgence in recent weeks with several scientists wading into the debate.In this episode of Coronapod, we delve into what scientists have been saying and ask how and why the 'lab-leak' hypothesis has gained so much traction. We ask if the way we communicate complex and nuanced science could be fuelling division, and what the fallout could be for international collaboration on endin...
Source: Nature Podcast - June 4, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

On the origin of numbers
The cross-discipline effort to work our how ancient humans learned to count.In this episode:00:45 Number originsAround the world, archaeologists, linguists and a host of other researchers are trying to answer some big questions – when, and how, did humans learn to count? We speak to some of the scientists at the forefront of this effort.News Feature: How did Neanderthals and other ancient humans learn to count?07:47 Research HighlightsHow sea anemones influence clownfish stripes, and how skin-to-skin contact can improve survival rates for high-risk newborns.Research Highlight: How the clownfish gets its stripesResear...
Source: Nature Podcast - June 2, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

New hope for vaccine against a devastating livestock disease
A vaccine candidate for a neglected tropical disease, and calls to extend the 14-day limit on embryo research.In this episode:00:46 A vaccine candidate for an important livestock diseaseAfrican animal trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease that kills millions of cattle each year, affecting livelihoods and causing significant economic costs in many sub-Saharan countries. Developing a vaccine against the disease has proved difficult as the parasite has a wealth of tricks to evade the immune system. This week however, a team of researchers have created a vaccine candidate that shows early promise in mice.Research Arti...
Source: Nature Podcast - May 26, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: How harmful are microplastics?
Pervasive plastic specks are of great concern to scientists – but are they really harmful?Wherever they look – from the bottom of oceans to the top of mountains – researchers are uncovering tiny specks of plastic, known as microplastics.Scientists are trying to understand the potential impacts of ingesting these pervasive plastics but early results are ambiguous, as some experiments might not reflect the diversity of microplastics that exist in the real world.This is an audio version of our feature: Microplastics are everywhere — but are they harmful?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt...
Source: Nature Podcast - May 24, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The'zombie' fires that keep burning under snow-covered forests
Smouldering fires lay dormant before bursting back into flame in spring.In this episode:00:56 The mysterious overwintering forest firesResearchers have shown that fires can smoulder under snow in frozen northern forests before flaring up the following spring. Understanding how these so-called ‘zombie’ fires start and spread is vital in the fight against climate change.Research Article: Scholten et al.07:39 Research HighlightsAesthetic bias means pretty plants receive the most research attention, and ancient tooth gunk reveals the evolution of the mouth microbiome.Research Highlight: Flashy plants draw outsiz...
Source: Nature Podcast - May 19, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: The variant blamed for India's catastrophic second wave
Over the past few weeks, India has been experiencing a devastating second wave of COVID-19, recording hundreds of thousands of new cases a day.Evidence is growing that a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as B.1.617, first detected in India in October, may be driving this wave.On this week’s Coronapod we talk about the race to learn more about B.1.617, with early results suggesting it may be more transmissible and could cause more severe disease.News: Coronavirus variants are spreading in India — what scientists know so far  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. (Source: Nature Podcast)
Source: Nature Podcast - May 14, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The brain implant that turns thoughts into text
A new neural interface lets people type with their mind, and a crafting journey into materials science.In this episode:00:45 A brain interface to type out thoughtsResearchers have developed a brain-computer interface that is able to read brain signals from people thinking about handwriting, and translate them into on-screen text. The team hope this technology could be used to help people with paralysis to communicate quicker than before.Research Article: Willett et al.News and Views: Neural interface translates thoughts into typeVideo: The BCI handwriting system in action07:37 Research HighlightsLight-sensitive cells help ...
Source: Nature Podcast - May 12, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Waiving vaccine patents and coronavirus genome data disputes
In surprise news this week, the US government announced its support for waiving patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines, in an effort to boost supplies around the world.As fewer than 1% of people living in low-income countries have received COVID-19 vaccines, it is hoped that this move is a major step towards addressing this inequity by allowing manufacturers to legally produce generic versions of vaccines. We discuss the next steps that need to be taken to make this a reality, and why there is opposition to the plan.Also on the podcast, we look at another aspect of coronavirus inequity: the sharing of genomic data. Aroun...
Source: Nature Podcast - May 7, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Oldest African burial site uncovers Stone Age relationship with death
The earliest evidence of deliberate human burial in Africa, and a metal-free rechargeable battery.Listen to our mini-series ‘Stick to the Science’: when science gets political and vote for the show in this year’s Webby Awards.In this episode:00:44 Human burial practices in Stone Age AfricaThe discovery of the burial site of a young child in a Kenyan cave dated to around 78 thousand years ago sheds new light on how Stone Age populations treated their dead.Research Article: Martinón-Torres et al.News and Views: A child’s grave is the earliest known burial site in Africa09:15 Research Highlights...
Source: Nature Podcast - May 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod special: The inequality at the heart of the pandemic
For more than a century, public health researchers have demonstrated how poverty and discrimination drive disease and the coronavirus pandemic has only reinforced this.In a Coronapod special, Nature reporter Amy Maxmen takes us with her through eight months of reporting in the San Joaquin valley, a part of rural California where COVID's unequal toll has proven deadly.News: Inequality's deadly tollThis piece was supported by grants from the Pulitzer Center and the MIT Knight Science Journalism fellowship.Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and...
Source: Nature Podcast - April 30, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

What fruit flies could teach scientists about brain imaging
Ultra-precise measurements connect brain activity and energy use in individual fruit-fly neurons.Vote for our mini-series ‘Stick to the Science’: when science gets political in this year’s Webby Awards.In this episode:00:45 How brain cells use energyA team of researchers have looked in individual fruit-fly neurons to better understand how energy use and information processing are linked – which may have important implications for future fMRI studies in humans.Research Article: Mann et al.07:04 Research HighlightsA tough but flexible material inspired by lobster underbellies, and research reveals ...
Source: Nature Podcast - April 28, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: How drugmakers can be better prepared for the next pandemic
Despite warnings, and a number of close calls, drugmakers failed to develop and stockpile drugs to fight a viral pandemic. Now, in the wake of SARS-CoV-2, they are pledging not to make the same mistake again.Around the world, researchers are racing to develop drugs to target COVID-19, but also broad-spectrum antivirals that could be used to treat future viral threats.This is an audio version of our feature: The race for antiviral drugs to beat COVID — and the next pandemic  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. (Source: Nature Podcast)
Source: Nature Podcast - April 26, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Kids and COVID vaccines
As COVID-19 vaccine roll-outs continue, attentions are turning to one group: children. While research suggests that children rarely develop severe forms of COVID-19, scientists still believe they could play a key role in transmission and a plan needs to be in place for the longer term. But clinical trials in children are more complicated than those in adults as different ethical and practical concerns need to be taken into account.In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss the ongoing clinical trials to test vaccines in young children, and ask what scientists want to know about safety, and how effective these vaccines might ...
Source: Nature Podcast - April 23, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Meet the inflatable, origami-inspired structures
The self-supporting structures that snap into place, and how a ban on fossil-fuel funding could entrench poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.In this episode:00:45 Self-supporting, foldable structuresDrawing inspiration from the art of origami, a team of researchers have demonstrated a way to design self-supporting structures that lock into place after being inflated. The team hope that this technique could be used to create arches and emergency shelters that can be quickly unfolded from flat with minimal input.Research Article: Melancon et al.News and Views: Large-scale origami locks into place under pressureVideo: Origami-in...
Source: Nature Podcast - April 21, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: could COVID vaccines cause blood clots? Here's what the science says
Reports of rare and unusual blood clots have resulted in several vaccine roll outs being paused while scientists scramble to work out if the vaccines are responsible and if so how.The unusual combination of symptoms, including a low platelet count and clots focussed in the abdomen or brain, seems similar to a rare side effect from treatment with the drug blood thinning drug Heparin - however it is not clear how the vaccines could cause the syndrome.In this episode of Coronapod we discuss the latest theories and ask how scientists are trying to get to the bottom of this important question. Medical regulators maintain that t...
Source: Nature Podcast - April 16, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The sanitation crisis making rural America ill
The lack of adequate sanitation in parts of the rural US, and physicists reassess muons’ magnetism.In this episode:00:45 How failing sanitation infrastructure is causing a US public health crisisIn the US, huge numbers of people live without access to adequate sanitation. Environmental-health advocate Catherine Coleman Flowers tells us about her new book looking at the roots and consequences of this crisis, focusing on Lowndes County, Alabama, an area inhabited largely by poor Black people, where an estimated 90% of households have failing or inadequate waste-water systems.Book review: Toilets – what will it ta...
Source: Nature Podcast - April 14, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: A whistle-blower ’s quest to take politics out of coronavirus surveillance
Rick Bright exposed former president Trump's political meddling in the US COVID response. Now he is championing a new privately funded initiative to track viral spread and combat new variants. We discuss the challenges of collecting data on a rapidly spreading virus, from transmission dynamics to genomic surveillance. We also ask why a veteran government scientist like Bright, the ex-director of the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, would take a new path in the private sector.News Q&A: Pandemic whistle-blower: we need a non-political way to track virusesNews: Why US coronavirus t...
Source: Nature Podcast - April 9, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: Rise of the robo-writers
In 2020, the artificial intelligence (AI) GPT-3 wowed the world with its ability to write fluent streams of text. Trained on billions of words from books, articles and websites, GPT-3 was the latest in a series of ‘large language model’ AIs that are used by companies around the world to improve search results, answer questions, or propose computer code.However, these large language model are not without their issues. Their training is based on the statistical relationships between the words and phrases, which can lead to them generating toxic or dangerous outputs.Preventing responses like these is a huge challe...
Source: Nature Podcast - April 6, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: How to define rare COVID vaccine side effects
From a sore arm to anaphylaxis, a wide range of adverse events have been reported after people have received a COVID-19 vaccine. And yet it is unclear how many of these events are actually caused by the vaccine. In the vast majority of cases, reactions are mild and can be explained by the body's own immune response. But monitoring systems designed to track adverse events are catching much rarer but more serious events. Now scientists need to work out if they are causally liked to the vaccine, or are just statistical anomalies - and that is not an easy task.News: Why is it so hard to investigate the rare side effects o...
Source: Nature Podcast - April 2, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Antimatter cooled with lasers for the first time
Laser-cooled antimatter opens up new physics experiments, and the staggering economic cost of invasive species.In this episode:00:44 Cooling antimatter with a laser focusAntimatter is annihilated whenever it interacts with regular matter, which makes it tough for physicists to investigate. Now though, a team at CERN have developed a way to trap and cool antihydrogen atoms using lasers, allowing them to better study its properties.Research Article: Baker et al.News and Views: Antimatter cooled by laser light09:27 Research HighlightsA dramatic increase in Arctic lightning strikes, and an acrobatic bunny helps researchers ...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 31, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine - what you need to know
Since the beginning of the pandemic the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been plagued by confusion and controversy. The vaccine has been authorised in over 100 countries, tens of millions of doses have been administered, and it has been demonstrated to be safe and effective. However, over the past few weeks the vaccine has again been in the headlines.In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss all of these controversies and ask how they may the reputation of the vaccine, and what that could mean for roll-outs moving forward.News: Latest results put Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID vaccine back on trackNews: What scientists do and...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 26, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Network of world's most accurate clocks paves way to redefine time
A web of three optical atomic clocks show incredibly accurate measurements of time, and the trailblazing astronomer who found hints of dark matter.In this episode:00:44 Optical clock networkOptical atomic clocks have the potential to reach new levels of accuracy and redefine how scientists measure time. However, this would require a worldwide system of connected clocks. Now researchers have shown that a network of three optical clocks is possible and confirm high levels of accuracy.Research Article: BACON collaborationNews and Views: Atomic clocks compared with astounding accuracy08:55 Research HighlightsThe possible downs...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 24, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Why COVID antibody treatments may not be the answer
In the early days of the pandemic, researchers raced to identify the most potent antibodies produced by the immune system in response to SAR-COV-2 infection and produce them in bulk. The resulting ‘monoclonal antibodies’ have since been tested in a variety of settings as treatments for COVID-19.But despite promising clinical trial results and several therapies having already been approved, antibody therapies have not yet played a large role in the fight against COVID-19. In this episode of Coronapod, we ask why.News: COVID antibody treatments show promise for preventing severe diseaseNews: Antibody...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 19, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The AI that argues back
A computer that can participate in live debates against human opponents.In this episode:00:43 AI DebaterAfter thousands of years of human practise, it’s still not clear what makes a good argument. Despite this, researchers have been developing computer programs that can find and process arguments. And this week, researchers at IBM are publishing details of an artificial intelligence that is capable of debating with humans.Research Article: Slonim et al.News and Views: Argument technology for debating with humans10:30 Research HighlightsThe sea slugs that can regrow their whole body from their severed head, and evi...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 17, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: COVID and pregnancy - what do we know?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been many open questions about how COVID-19 could impact pregnant people and their babies – confounded by a lack of data.But now, studies are finally starting to provide some answers. While it does seem that pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation, babies appear to be spared from severe illness in most cases.In this week’s Coronapod we talk about these findings, and the questions that remain – including whether vaccines are safe to give to pregnant people.News: Pregnancy and COVID: what the data say  See acast.com/privacy for ...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 12, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The smallest measurement of gravity ever recorded
Physicists examine the gravitational pull between two tiny masses, and how fossil lampreys could shake-up the field of vertebrate evolution.In this episode:00:47 Gravity, on the small scaleThis week, researchers have captured the smallest measurement of gravity on record, by measuring the pull between two tiny gold spheres. This experiment opens the door for future experiments to investigate the fundamental forces of nature and the quantum nature of gravity.Research Article: Westphal et al.News and Views: Ultra-weak gravitational field detected07:37 Research HighlightsResearch shows that people often don’t know when ...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 10, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: COVID's origins and the'lab leak' theory
Where did the SARS-CoV-2 virus come from? As a team of researchers from the WHO prepares to report on its investigation into the origins of the virus, we discuss the leading theories, including the controversial ‘lab leak' hypothesis.Although there is no evidence to support it, the lab-leak idea remains popular among certain groups. Similar hypotheses were even touted about the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. We discuss why theories like this seem to gain traction.News: ‘Major stones unturned’: COVID origin search must continue after WHO report, say scientistsNews: Where did COVID come from...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

COVID, 2020 and a year of lost research
The pandemic's unequal toll on the research community, and a newly discovered mitochondria-like symbiosis.In this episode:00:48 The pandemic's unequal toll on researchersAlthough 2020 saw a huge uptick in the numbers of research papers submitted, these increases were not evenly distributed among male and female scientists. We look at how this could widen existing disparities in science, and damage future career prospects.Editorial: COVID is amplifying the inadequacy of research-evaluation processes09:18 Research HighlightsHow a parasite can make viral infections more deadly, and the first known space hurricane.Research Hig...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 3, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Google-backed database could help answer big COVID questions
A repository with millions of data points will track immunity and variant spread.To answer the big questions in the pandemic, researchers need access to data. But while a wealth has been collected, much of it isn’t collated or accessible to the people who need it.This week sees the launch of Global.health, a database that aims to collate an enormous amount of anonymized information about individual COVID-19 cases.On this week’s Coronapod we discuss how this database could help answer the biggest questions facing scientists right now, from variants to vaccines – could data change the game?News: Massive Goo...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 26, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The quark of the matter: what's really inside a proton?
The surprising structure of protons, and a method for growing small intestines for transplantation.In this episode:00:45 Probing the proton’s interiorAlthough studied for decades, the internal structure of the proton is still throwing up surprises for physicists. This week, a team of researchers report an unexpected imbalance in the antimatter particles that make up the proton.Research Article: Dove et al.News and Views: Antimatter in the proton is more down than up07:08 Research HighlightsHow an inactive gene may help keep off the chill, and Cuba’s isolation may have prevented invasive species taking root on t...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 24, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: Thundercloud Project tackles a gamma-ray mystery
Researchers in Japan are trying to understand why thunderstorms fire out bursts of powerful radiation.Gamma rays – the highest-energy electromagnetic radiation in the universe – are typically created in extreme outer space environments like supernovae. But back in the 1980s and 1990s, physicists discovered a source of gamma rays much closer to home: thunderstorms here on Earth.Now, researchers in Japan are enlisting an army of citizen scientists to help understand the mysterious process going on inside storm clouds that leads to them creating extreme bursts of radiation.This is an audio version of our feature: ...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 23, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: our future with an ever-present coronavirus
What’s the endgame for the COVID-19 pandemic? Is a world without SARS-CoV-2 possible, or is the virus here to stay?A recent Nature survey suggests that the majority of experts expect the virus to become endemic, circulating in the world’s population for years to come.But what does this mean? On this week’s episode of Coronapod, we ask what a future with an ever-present virus could look like.News Feature: The coronavirus is here to stay — here’s what that means  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. (Source: Nature Podcast)
Source: Nature Podcast - February 19, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

A mammoth discovery: oldest DNA on record from million-year-old teeth
Researchers sequence the oldest DNA ever recovered, and the people bringing art and science together.In this episode:00:46 Million-year-old mammoth DNAThis week, researchers have smashed a long-standing record by sequencing a genome that's over a million years old. They achieved this feat by extracting DNA from permafrost-preserved mammoth teeth, using it to build-up a more detailed family tree for these ancient animals.Research Article: van der Valk et al.News: Million-year-old mammoth genomes shatter record for oldest ancient DNANews and Views: Million-year-old DNA provides a glimpse of mammoth evolution10:00 Research Hi...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 17, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Is mixing COVID vaccines a good idea?
The science behind how and when to give vaccines doses.As vaccines are rolled out, massive logistical challenges are leading scientists and policymakers to consider alternative dosing strategies.But what does the science say? In this week’s episode of Coronapod, we discuss mixing and matching vaccines and lengthening the time between doses. Approaches like these could ease logistical concerns, but we ask what's known about their impact on vaccine efficacy – what is the science behind the decisions, and could they actually boost immune responses?News: Could mixing COVID vaccines boost immune response? ...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 12, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Human Genome Project - Nature ’s editor-in-chief reflects 20 years on
Looking back at the publication of the human genome, and how macrophages mend muscle.In this episode:00:45 The human genome sequence, 20 years onThis week marks the 20th anniversary of a scientific milestone – the publication of the first draft of the human genome. Magdalena Skipper, Nature’s Editor-in-Chief gives us her recollections of genomics at the turn of the millennium, and the legacy of the achievement.Editorial: The next 20 years of human genomics must be more equitable and more openComment: A wealth of discovery built on the Human Genome Project — by the numbersComment: Sequence three million ge...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 10, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Variants – what you need to know
Researchers are scrambling to understand the biology of new coronavirus variants and the impact they might have on vaccine efficacy.Around the world, concern is growing about the impact that new, faster-spreading variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will have on the pandemic.In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss what these variants are, and the best way to respond to them, in the face of increasing evidence that some can evade the immunity produced by vaccination or previous infection.News: ‘A bloody mess’: Confusion reigns over naming of new COVID variantsNews: Fast-spreading COVID variant can elude immune r...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Mysterious einsteinium spills its secrets
Exploring the properties of a vanishingly-rare man-made element, and the AI that generates new mathematical conjectures.In this episode:01:04 Einsteinium's secretsEinsteinium is an incredibly scarce, man-made element that decays so quickly that researchers don’t know much about it. Now, using state-of-the-art technology, a team has examined how it interacts with other atoms, which they hope will shed new light on einsteinium and its neighbours on the periodic table.Research Article: Carter et al.06:28 Research HighlightsThe mysterious appearance of three ozone-depleting chemicals in Earth’s atmosphere, and how ...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 3, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Fixing the world ’s pandemic alarm
A year ago the WHO’s coronavirus emergency alarm was largely ignored. Why?On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a ‘public health emergency of international concern’, or PHEIC, to raise the alarm of the imminent threat of a global coronavirus pandemic.Alongside the PHEIC, the WHO made a number of recommendations to curb the spread of the virus. But many of these were ignored by governments around the world.In this episode of Coronapod, we explore why this emergency warning system failed, and hear about efforts to reform it, and the WHO, to avoid this happening again.News: Why did...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 29, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: Push, pull and squeeze – the hidden forces that shape life
Researchers are probing the subtle physical forces that sculpt cells and bodies.At every stage of life, from embryo to adulthood, physical forces tug and squeeze at bodies from within.These forces are vital, ensuring that cells are correctly positioned in a developing embryo, for example. But they also play a role in diseases like cancer. Yet despite their importance, relatively little is known about how cells sense, respond to and generate these forces.To find out, researchers have turned to bespoke tools and methods, using them to probe lab-cultured cells and whole animals to get to the root of how mechanical forces scul...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 28, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

How a spinal device could relieve a neglected effect of cord injury
A neuroprosthetic device restores blood-pressure control after spinal-cord injury, and identifying the neurons that help us understand others’ beliefs.In this episode:00:47 A neuroprosthetic restores the body’s baroreflexA common problem for people who have experienced spinal-cord injury is the inability to maintain their blood pressure, which can have serious, long-term health consequences. Now, however, researchers have developed a device that may restore this ability, by stimulating the neural circuits involved in the so-called baroreflex.Research Article: Squair et al.News and Views: Neuroprosthetic device ...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 27, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Hiring discrimination laid bare by mountain of data
Analysis of hundreds of thousands of job searches shows that recruiters will discriminate based on ethnicity and gender, and the neural circuitry behind a brief period of forgetting.In this episode:00:47 Hiring discriminationA huge dataset has shown that widespread discrimination occurs in job hiring, based on ethnicity and gender. This backs up decades of research, showing that people from minority backgrounds tend to get contacted far less by employers.Research Article: Hangartner et al.09:31 CoronapodToday Joe Biden becomes the next president of the United States. We find out what this new political chapter could mean f...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 20, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: The rise of RNA vaccines
Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker and Elie Dolgin discuss RNA vaccines.In this episode: 01:16 How RNA vaccines came to prominenceIn less than a year, two RNA vaccines against COVID-19 were designed, tested and rolled out across the world. We discuss these vaccines’ pros and cons, how RNA technology lends itself to rapid vaccine development, and what this means for the fight against other diseases.News feature: How COVID unlocked the power of RNA vaccines09:20 The hurdles for trialling new COVID-19 vaccinesMultiple candidates for new COVID-19 vaccines are still being developed, which may offer advantages over the vac...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 14, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The mysterious extinction of the dire wolf
DNA clues point to how dire wolves went extinct, and a round-up of the main impacts of Brexit on science.In this episode:00:45 Dire wolf DNADire wolves were huge predators that commonly roamed across North America before disappearing around 13,000 years ago. Despite the existence of a large number of dire wolf fossils, questions remain about why this species went extinct and how they relate to other wolf species. Now, using DNA and protein analysis, researchers are getting a better understanding of what happened to these extinct predators.Research Article: Perri et al.11:43 Research HighlightsThe secret to Pluto’s bl...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 13, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: Controlling COVID with science - Iceland's story
Lessons from Iceland, which utilised huge scientific resources to contain COVID-19.When COVID reached the shores of Iceland back in March, the diminutive island brought it to heel with science. Here’s how they did it, and what they learnt.This is an audio version of our feature: How Iceland hammered COVID with science  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. (Source: Nature Podcast)
Source: Nature Podcast - December 30, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Our podcast highlights of 2020
The Nature Podcast team select some of their favourite stories from the past 12 months.In this episode:00:32 Following the Viking footprint across EuropeIn September, we heard about the researchers mapping ancient genomes to better understand who the Vikings were, and where they went.Nature Podcast: 16 September 2020Research Article: Margaryan et al.08:09 Mars hopesIn July, the UAE launched its first mission to Mars. We spoke to the mission leads to learn about the aims of the project, and how they developed the mission in under six years.Nature Podcast: 08 July 2020News Feature: How a small Arab nation built a Mars missio...
Source: Nature Podcast - December 23, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: The big COVID research papers of 2020
Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker and Traci Watson discuss some of 2020's most significant coronavirus research papers.In the final Coronapod of 2020, we dive into the scientific literature to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers have discovered so much about SARS-CoV-2 – information that has been vital for public health responses and the rapid development of effective vaccines. But we also look forward to 2021, and the critical questions that remain to be answered about the pandemic.Papers discussedA Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019 - New England Journal of Medicine, 24 JanuaryClini...
Source: Nature Podcast - December 17, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Could you prevent a pandemic? A very 2020 video game
A video game provides players with insights into pandemic responses, and our annual festive fun.In this episode:01:02 Balancing responses in a video game pandemicIn the strategy video-game Plague Inc: The Cure, players assume the role of an omnipotent global health agency trying to tackle outbreaks of increasingly nasty pathogens. We find out how the game was developed, and how it might help change public perception of pandemic responses.Plague Inc: The Cure from Ndemic Creations10:02 “We three Spacecraft travel to Mars”The first of our festive songs, we head back to July this year, and the launch of three sepa...
Source: Nature Podcast - December 16, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts